tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 12, 2014 4:00am-6:01am EDT
u.s. cybersay the changing in the course of the next few months but that is part of a normal routine. >> and part of the normal rotation. let me change gears. we have all recognized the growing importance of cyber in every capacity. i think the lessons of history suggest that the more we practice, the better we are when the game starts. to my mind, i don't think we have had the kind of coordinated exercises between cyber command, nsa, homeland security and every other agency which basically would give us -- confirm what we believe it may be surprises about what we don't know. is that your impression? >> i think we have done a good job of exercising within the department while we bring more
capacity online in the next major evolution is how we broadly across the u.s. government to apply those issues. >> there is also the issue of bothing out to utilities financial utilities and public utilities. is that something where you would need either funding or authorization or encouragement from congress? >> at this stage, i don't know. i do make the commitment that if i am confirmed, i will assess that and if i do believe that money or authority or support from a legislative site is required, i will approach you. >> i would encourage you to do that because i think there are so many different moving parts in these issues that you are addressing. it's not just in terms of operational but privacy,
constitutional policy, commercial enterprises vs governmental enterprises, not for profits -- i think this exercise would be hugely important. this is bubbly not the most precise analogy but when we saw and 1940,ing in 1939 we learned a lot in louisiana maneuvers. we discovered some very capable leadership down there at the junior ranks and rolled it over to some others worry quickly when the war started. i don't sense we have actually done that in the scale we talked about. i would urge you to look very quickly and get back to us very quickly in terms of what we have to do to assist you. again, i think both of you gentlemen bring the dedication and service as well as your families and i think you bring appreciation that all of what we
do ultimately is about the young men and women who wear the uniform who are in harms way and what you do for them, i thank you. >> senator wicker. >> thank you. thanks to both of our witnesses today. gentlemen bring the dedication and service as well as your families and i think youlet me . i want to talk j's from thec-130 air force base. dod wants to do another background. often we hear defense officials liket's not going to be 2005. they say error days of spending lots of money and moving things around that will not result in financial savings, those days are over. force plan toir shut down the 815th airlift
squadron and their active-duty air forcethe 345th squadron and move this quadrant of aircraft away from keesler air force base, it seems the reasons have never been fully explained. the official announcement came yesterday. i have a news report from wlox in biloxi, mississippi which says keesler air force base will lose 10 aircraft from the 403rd wing under defense cuts presented to congress on monday and it plans to transfer the 10 aircraft to the newly 913th airlift group in little rock. willing to work with the air force in making overall
savings. every senator will defend our own basis. if this will help the greater good, count me in to be your teammate. first, these aircraft were going to go to dobbins in georgia. the air force abandoned that and then they were going to send them to hope field to the 44th airlift wing in north carolina. that wing will be d activate. -- d activate it. --de activated. we are newly reactivating a group in little rock and sending these c-130j's from keesler to little rock air force base, to this newly reactivated group. taxpayers have spent millions of dollars to provide keesler air
force base with state-of-the-art , modern hangars and facilities. as a matter of fact, keesler has enough space to house two squadrons. yet the air force continues to propose to spend millions of dollars to move these aircraft away and i want you to help us understand at the committee level the reason for this. alsourse, the move would cause serious disruptions to the units arsenal and their families and that happens every time there is a move. i want to ask you three direct questions, general -- how much will this move cost? >> my understanding is that the move itself is cost neutral to little rock. understanding is they move is cost neutral to little rock. savings on the order of 600 manpower across the air force return, specifically, as the air force reserve look at -- reserves look at this -- with
the cost savings. >> ok. be anye going to military time needed at little rock to accomplish this move? >> not to my knowledge. i want you to supply me a statement, at the record and not to your knowledge. i want you to look is in the eye at this committee, and assurance that at least not one dollar will be new to accomplish this move. >> i look into the cost of the -- withth a specific the specifics of what will be required at little rock, and not hope or any location -- >> it is your testimony that from theese aircraft
base with there are the modern hangers and facilities, to a new base is actually going to save enough money, to offset the costs of making this move. >> senator, based on the consultations of the air force command and making the decision in recommending it to the air force, my belief is they will save up to $600 of manpower -- and this is a reasonable thing to do. >> i want you to get back to us with a specific numbers. let me just follow up on senator anchin's testimony, you are not willing to comment on the equipment left in iraq. is that true? >> i was not part of the details of what happened in iraq because i was not part of the decision-making process. >> but you will get back on some
follow-up answers regarding the equipment being left in afghanistan. correct? >> that will be left to general dunford, as well as the leadership. the comment i made was there is some equipment, that would normally be left in afghanistan as a result of the value of the residual value of the equipment being less than the transportation cost to bring it home. >> will you be able to get back to the committee about the factors, or do you suggest that we look elsewhere. >> i would have to consult with -- >> this is a question for another time. it goes without saying, we are going to leave friends there, and hopefully we will try to continue to be successful in afghanistan. and there are forces that will need this equipment.
be theondly, there would cost, to the taxpayers, of transporting, so this equipment back that is not going to be necessary for us to be successful. -- itld make him him would make no sense to spend the money to bring it back. if it is going to cost more. would that be a fair statement? thank you very much, good luck to both of you. >> senator david better. >> let me interrupt you for one second. -- is the first of four that are still scheduled. bidder -- vitter, if there are no other senators, i will ask senator kaine and
has ahofnhofe -- who different plan. >> thank you for your service and for being here. admiral rogers, do you think the necessary support and policies and authority, and relationships and act, are all of those in place, and would you supplement any of those, what additional allah sees would you like to set? and what additional policies would you like to see set? and what additional policies would you like to see set? >> i would like to see those in the cyber arena, those are going to be much more broad than the u.s. cyber command, that would be part of it. command,thin the cyber do you have the authorities and
the policies to do all of that effectively. >> my confirmed need to be otherwise -- >> the level of expertise is required for potentially damaging operations, this is definitely lowered allowing achieve somes to level of success. how does this impact the allies and the foreign partners and our ability to work with them. >> i think it increases the level of risk for all of our partners. >> is this in particular a problem when we have allies and partners with less capable defenses than we do, how do you handle that? >> yes, and one way we handle that is with strong partnerships. we have a strong dialogue with many of our allies and partners
and we need to continue to build on that. >> i know that the pentagon wants more nato members to have more access to the unmanned aircraft. at there particular issues -- or vulnerabilities related to that, given these advanced toortunities for our enemies have this? >> there is clearly some risk there. and the way that we had you gets this risk -- we ask ourselves how we can mitigate this risk. systems,t is physical what kind of tactics and -- to mitigate this risk. >> are those risks ever such that with regard to particular systems, we would not change our minds, in terms of the transfer
to an ally. >> clearly this would be on the case-by-case basis. buy nothing i'm currently aware of. >> ok. last week the press reported that russia used cyber attacks against ukrainian telecommunications to hamper the ukrainian leadership, and the ability to access that. do you agree that russia has very sophisticated cyber capabilities, and if they use them, that could impart considerable damage to the ukraine's critical infrastructure. >> i think so. >> i am going to move to the reserve -- admiral rogers. inot of us are interested better integrating and using leveraging, with reserve capabilities. trend, thatng-term
the reserve is more in the middle of any efforts, and any fight that we have. what, specifically, is cyber crime doing to determine that the guard components are being fully utilized and maximized? >> cyber command is part of the broader departmental discussion that is ongoing right now that will be scheduled to be finished by july, to take a look at the mission analysis associated with asking what kind of reserve capability in the cyber arena that we need, how do we structure the reserve component and maximize the effectiveness, and that part in this mission. u.s. cyber command currently has an ongoing series of exercises, with these units in the cyber arena. they also have an ongoing dialogue as part of a broader dialogue with governors, as we work our way forward to figure out the best way to maximize that capability.
we have to maximize that capability. >> i would underscore and encourage that in regard to cyber command in particular, as i hope that you know, there is particular language in the last defense authorization bill, requiring maximization, the maximization of that in regard to the reserve. i would amend that to your focus and intentions. the final question, i think some of your comments have gone to the fact that the appropriate leadership needs to make the case more fully, and publicly and persuasively, for the use of important authorities, that do exist and lay them out there in layman's terms, if you will, why this is important. and in that spirit, can you talk about the capabilities that have been very hotly debated, which is the use of a geographic --
geographic information regarding cell phones? >> to be honest, this is not an issue i have yet delved deeply into. this is one of those issues i have to be specifically smarter on, to be discussed publicly. that is part of the public discussion. >> if you would look at that and supplement the record in writing, with regard to your thoughts on that, i would appreciate it. that is all that i have. thank you, mr. chairman. , when you arene done -- you have voted on this one. i would turn this over to whoever is next in line. i would appreciate it. >> thank you for your service and testimony today. my questions will primarily be for admiral rogers. i have a little bit of an or not -- unorthodox view of some of these challenges about nsa programs. many of my colleagues talk about
these programs as if there is a solution to controversy and fixing the programs themselves. i actually think the bigger challenge is that many of these programs are being carried out pursuant to a vaguely defined moral conflict. twice during your testimony today, there was the notion of what we are in fact in. you indicated that you thought that edward snowden's revelations were wrong and cost american lives, but you hesitated before using the word traitor to describe him. when you are asked by senator graham, whether we were at war, you said that we are in a hostility or disagreement, but then there was a misunderstanding about what exactly he was asking. you thought that he was asking about a cyber war. you understood that as the war on terror. my concern is that we are carrying out a whole series of mr. he -- military actions
pursuant to the authorization for use of military force that was done on september 14, 2001 with no temporal limitations or geographic limitations and which has been defined as both the bush and obama administrations to extend to taking action not only against those who planned the 9/11 attacks but against the associated forces. that language does not appear in theauthorization, it is decision of both administrations about what that authorization uses. we are currently in a war, but the war does not have a geographic limitation. it does not have any kind of a temporal limitation, it does not have an expiration date. this committee held a hearing on the authorization and use of military force in may. i asked witnesses from the obama administration, when will the war in and they said, they don't know, it will be 25 or 30 years.
i asked the obama administration witnesses, somebody is born in 2020 and when they are 15 years they can join an organization associated with al qaeda, that only opened then and has no designs against the united states, does this authorization allow us to take action against that group? and the answer is yes. there is no reform we will be able to make any of these programs that lance of the questions of our citizens and civilians if the intelligence gathering operations are done in a significant way, pursuant to the open-ended military authorization. and the questions that you have received about this nature of your job, you are part of a military command that is executing an authorization that has no imitation whatsoever. for all practical purposes. nsayou are also in the position where you are gathering intelligence. and i just feel that the
challenge about limiting the nsa programs, or trying to find the right balance between fighting terrorism, stopping evil and protecting citizens rights, we can do anything we wanted within the four corners of the program. if we do not, as a congress, resist this with the 2001 authorization and try to put some sense of definition and scope to this, open ended, it could be a war for 25 or 30 years. we will continue to have witnesses, sharp witnesses who will come before us with difficulty describing exactly what we are in the middle of because the primary job of congress is to provide a definition at the front end, in terms of what the mission is, it is the military and commander-in-chief that actually execute the mission. congress has given no definition of what it is we are doing at this point, and for that we will always have controversies, in my opinion, going forward. in your advanced policy questions, you asked about what
constitutes the use of force in cyberspace in regards to the war powers act. with self-defense in the u.n. charter and the collective defense authorization. if you could just elaborate a little bit on that answer today, the use of force in cyberspace, and how, in your view, it triggers the war powers or other obligations, that the united states has. >> i apologize, with the 120 questions i was asked i do not remember the word for word specifics. please accept my apologies. one of the unique challenges in cyberspace, war in what the hostilities are and the military action? >> on the policy perspective we are trying to work our way through these issues. applicable iss whatever we do in the cyber arena, international law will
pertain. that if we find ourselves getting to a point where we believe that cyber is taking us down, in armed conflict scenarios, that the rule and the conflict- law of armed will maintain in this as any other. i don't think that cyber is inherently different in that regard. i think that those sets of procedures, for the policies and the nation, i think they represent a good point of departure. >> the phrase that you use is an issue. if we believe that cyber activity is taking us down the path to armed conflict in the international law, would it be your decision that cyber war, someone takes out our great emily take activity to respond war, if it can have a huge effect on human life, a huge effect of the economy of the two nations. unless it dimly
starred conflict? >> certainly not. i think of the sense of distractive acts that have significant impact for us. theink we are getting in boundaries, of is this an act of war? we are concerned about the broad general spectrum. >> just that question, we do have some important definitional work to do, the absence of the cyber bill makes this harder for all of us. switch topics. yesterday at northern virginia community college -- i was fortunate to be there at a time when there was a meeting of the bc -- based organization, cyber watched, -- d.c. based ,rganization cyber watch talking about the skills that the cyber professionals needed, as a workforce organization. interested that someone from the department of defense is not around that table, they may want to follow to say that this may be a good avenue of precipitation -- precipitation
-- participation. general alexander was here, with the need for 160 cyber missions, and 300 sixty hwy personnel by 2016. as the leader of cyber command, what would be your approach on these issues? and second, the competition from the private sector is also very intense for people with this skill set. what would be your approach for stamping out this mission? >> each of the services would take focus on this and the command of the cyber force, with the individual right now -- on the uniform side of our experience, we have exceeded expectations and been able to recruit quality individuals and retain them. this is something my partners pay close attention to with indicators to suggest that essentially this is changing. in some way, the civilian side represents a potential greater challenge.
i think that we need to look at the incentive, whether this is the ability to focus with these individuals in particular areas for extended amounts of time, in a way that we don't do now. we will have to look at all of that. >> with the civilian side and doing the work of cyber command. it takes a lot of talent of service branch personnel but also the civilians. and there has to be a good mixture. my time is up, and all of you are here for the first rounds of questions -- is there a second round of questions ranking member inhofe? >> you can continue and i know that sen. cruz is coming back and we are talking about something i was unsuccessfully trying to get at. that is this threat. i fail to see that there is a major difference between someone who is attacking us, depending on what kind of weapons they are
using, and the weapon of cyber attacks. -- let me just ask admiral rogers. do you believe that we are deterring our rivals in cyberspace? wenot to the extent that need to. >> do you know what this looks like? >> that is the problem. >> there is not a lot of public out there that understands the significance of what is going on. when i talk to people about what iran's capabilities are and what they will be by next year, we talk about the weapon and the delivery system, they understand that these are not cyber attacks. think, thehis and i senator from virginia is really onto something. the war is the war. we will have to elevate the threat, that is what we will be dealing with.
most people are not aware of that. general selby, they use rail primarily for large training exercises that depend on the rail industry to be ready to meet the department of defense search requirements. what is -- what is your opinion rail meeting the department of defense requirements? >> i cannot give you a definitive answer other than saying that the recent work that has been done to look at the number of available railcars. with the assessments division -- i will be happy to look at that once i have the opportunity to do that, to confirm. the area of my expertise would not be appropriate.
rogers, i mentioned earlier that i got to know the outgoing -- man in charge, general alexander quite well. i had the chance to talk to them, early on in this stage. he has an excellent job. he informed me that you have a kind of background that will be able to do the same thing. this is a different view of the public so they would understand how real that the threat is out there and look forward to working with them -- >> thank you, member in half -- inhofe. >> thank you senator kaine. general, admiral, thank you for being here. thank you for your long and distinguished service to the nation. i would like to talk about the
nsa policies. with concerns about -- i have expressed concerns on nsa policies on 2 fronts. one of them is the overbroad intrusion for policy rights. two, number two is the pattern of not focusing on bad actions. and not focusing on the intention to prevent terrorist acts. with the intelligence and with theommunity -- individual bad actors. i would like to ask you questions on both fronts, starting out with the citizenry at large. as you are aware, president obama' group for the intelligence community -- says that the bulk of data collected by the nsa should be held by a third party.
the privacy and civil liberties oversight board has recommended ending the bulk data altogether. do you agree with either of these? >> in terms of pulling the data from the national security, there is a standard we could work to that would allow us to do that while still meeting the requirements of generating the intelligence that we need and ensuring protection of u.s. citizens. can you please repeat the second part? >> the privacy and civil liberties oversight board recommended limiting -- ending the data collection altogether. >> i think that we can do this in a way that will provide protection for the citizens and generate value. >> but you believe this should not be held by the u.s. government. president's the decision to shift that from the national security agency. >> if confirmed, what is the timetable for implementing that
report? >> i don't know. --m driven by the solutions -- >> are you committed to working with members of this committee or a solution? >> yes. i want to ask more generally. the fourth amendment protects the privacy of law-abiding americans. what is your view of the appropriate limitations of the ability of the government, for e-mail communications. when you're not under suspicion of any wrongdoing. >> i don't think this should be done without the corresponding legal framework for the execution. framework with your judgment require the individual suspicion? >> it out -- it varies from the aspects that we are talking about -- which is one area that
the data approach was taken to address that, to deal with no contrast or names, no geographic location to strike that balance. >> would you say the government intercepts content from telephones or e-mails requires with the fourth amendment, individualized suspicion in some form of judicial oversight? >> i would make a blanket statement again, i am not aware of the specifics of the law and this is not an area of my expertise. >> i would ask after this you would answer that question in writing. but in relevance to the fourth in relevance to how you would implement the policies of the nsa, this is a question of great interest. and the government collecting metadata or the content of
indications with law-abiding -- law-abiding citizens. this is something the constitution speaks directly to. it -- i would like an expanded answer in writing after this. i would like to shift to the other side. we have devoted far too many resources, with law-abiding citizens and too few resources looking at bad guys. the tsarnaev brothers, we were notified by russia that they may have had connections to radical islam must terrorists. the elder brother posted an advertisement with his desire for jihad on youtube, not a clear, hidden communication but for the world to see. and yet, even though we knew this individual -- we had reason
to know that this individual was a radical islamic terrorists, and he was publicly proclaiming his desire for jihad, we failed to print -- prevent that tragic bombing in boston. i would like to ask you, why do you think that this was, and what can we do to correct this so we don't fail to prevent the next boston bombing. i don't know the specifics of the boston bombing. this is not something i have expressed direct knowledge of. withsecond example, deals major nadal hassan and the ft. hood murders. hassan had traded 18 e-mails ath radical islamic cleric -- known terrorist leaders any spiritual advisor of the 9/11 attacks.
good afternoon. i think we're going to start up now. is everybody ready? we're going to have some folks that are going to have to move out around 5:00 for -- i think it's a hearing on the ukraine. but we're ready to start. today we have and welcome secretary johnson for what marks his very first appearance for this subcommittee. mr. secretary, thank you for being here. looking forward to your testimony, and we're going to talk about the president's budget request for homeland security for the fiscal year 2015. mr. secretary, budgets are policy documents, as you well know. documents which reflect the administration's priorities. so when we look at your budget proposal for fy-'15, what jumps off the page is a blatant disregard for critical security and law enforcement functions and priorities that truly defy logic. either this administration does
not see homeland security and law enforcement as important, or it is trying to game congress in hope we will bail out unjustified -- will bail out unjustified and truly harmful cuts to essential front line operations. either way, the chairman of this subcommittee, i'm obligated to call on you -- to call you on it and not to tolerate it. we all know a political election year budget proposal when we see one. i'm afraid that that's what we've got here today. specifically, your budget proposes a 12% cut in cbp's air operation which includes a cut of more than 30 flight hours. it proposes a cut of 5% to i.c.e., which includes an arbitrary $30 million cut in investigations and a decrease of nearly 3,500 detention or more
than 10% reduction detention space. a cut of more than 4% to the coast guard, including a cut of nearly 30% to critical acquisitions and a cut of more than 17% to fixed wing flight hours. so what we have here is a budget proposal that if ever enacted will result in more drugs on our streets, more illegal border incursions, more mariners in distress, more transnational crime, including more instances of human smuggling and trafficking, as well as child exploitation. an outcome that is simply unacceptable. when this budget -- then this budget proposes to actually increase the spending for the management and headquarters by nearly 3%. to make matters worse, the budget proposes about $1 billion in new fees that are not even authorized. so your budget assumes enormous
offsets that simply do not exist. the budget then proposes the creation of a new and costly political program that does not adhere to the ryan murray plan enacted into law just months ago, and that has no plan and no justification. this so-called opportunity growth and security initiative is little more than a political wish list that has been presented to congress and to this committee in an amateurish and wholly inadequate way. finally, your budget simply does not comply with the law, as it is missing some 20 reports and expenditure plans required to be submitted with the budget. this is an argument that we have had, especially with homeland, for years. in this is how we were able to use facts to understand your budget. but the failure to provide these
20-some-odd reports is inexcusable. frankly, it's offensive. late and incomplete do not comply with the law, nor meet the subcommittee standards for budget submittals. mr. secretary, this subcommittee deals in matters of reality, meaning we enforce the law as it is written, not how we would like it to be. and we only deal with laws and offsets that are real, not some false or fictitious fee. now that's why the subcommittee has to adhere to three core principles. we have done this since chairman rogers was in charge and has been carried for 11 years. one, unwavering support to our front line personnel and essential security operations. two, clear alignment of funding to results. and three, true fiscal discipline, meaning we provide every well-justified dollar
needed for homeland security and not one penny more. this is a common sense policy. mr. secretary, we know you're new. i know you inherited an ill-conceived budget. so we'll work with you in the coming months. lord knows, we can only approve the so-called proposal. and i give you my word, i'll work with you to do that. mr. secretary, i think it's clear we have a lot to cover here today. before i recognize you on your testimony, let me turn to my friend and the distinguished ranking member and former chairman, mr. price, for his remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning. good afternoon, mr. secretary. welcome to you. this is your first appearance before our subcommittee, your first opportunity to answer questions can on the fiscal year 2015 budget request from the president. i hope you'll find our hearings to be both constructive and beneficial to your mission as
the secretary. this subcommittee is inclined to be candid and probing, but i hope our questions will be fair and reasonable. you have a difficult job, so even when there are disagreements, we still appreciate and respect your service to the country. look forward to working together. you've inherited a department now more than 10 years old. it's had its share of growing pains, but it's made significant progress in many areas under the leadership of each of your predecessors. i know your intent is to build on and hasten that progress. one area that's in dire need of progress is the morale of dhs personnel, which ranks among the lowest in federal agencies. i know from our conversations that that's a priority for you. and i look forward to hearing more about your strategy, not only to address it, but to continue to build the department into one dhs. part of the morale problem, i know, has to do with extended vacancies across multiple dhs leadership offices. some of these vacancies can be explained by delays in the senate confirmation process,
although we have seen some progress in that front, including three important confirmations last week. but for many, the department or the administration was slow to act. so i hope you can give us a feel for when we might see all of these vacancies filled. beyond employee morale, you need long-term leaders in charge to help you do your job effectively. i've been particularly enpressed with the strides made across the department in using risk-based strategies to prioritize the use of limited resources. from risk-based screening by tsa, and prioritizing criminal alien deportations by i.c.e., to improve targeting of passengers and carbo by cbp, the department is taking a more strategic approach to accomplishing its many missions. that approach is especially needed now, as we continue to live in an era of fiscal restraint. the fiscal 2015 net discretionary budget requests for the department is $38.2 billion. not including an additional
$6.4 billion in disaster relief funding that does not count toward the discretionary cap. this total is $1.1 billion below the current year funding level. of course, dhs isn't the only department being asked to do more with less. in fact, other departments are far worse off. while i'm hopeful that we can move forward in a bipartisan manner, based on the previously agreed upon top line fiscal '15 numbers, this agreement will still leave massive shortfalls. across our federal budget in funding for health and research grants, infrastructure investments, veteran benefits and much beyond that. now, some are going to be quick to criticize the homeland security budget request. but we need to realize, it's part of a bigger picture, a bigger picture that includes in the recent past government shutdowns, destructive sequestration cuts, unwise repeated cuts in domestic
investments. so this history, unfortunately, has left the administration with severely limited options. there's perhaps no greater challenge for the department than border and immigration enforcement. this is not only because of the fact that our immigration system is fundamentally flawed, but also because the politics surrounding immigration are so contentious, plagued, i'm afraid, by exaggerations of both fact and rhetoric, as well as legitimate policy differences. my experience on this subcommittee ever since its creation has convinced me of the futility of approaching immigration as simply an enforcement issue, or simply throwing money at the border or any other aspect of the problem. we must have comprehensive reform. in fact, we should have had it long ago. and if we can accomplish reform this year, mr. secretary, that would go farther than anything else i can think of to make your job more manageable and your department more successful. one of the things that the subcommittee would benefit greatly from, and would help
clear the air around the overall immigration debate, would be more comprehensive and timely data about how the department is managing its border and immigration enforcement responsibilities. how many individuals are being apprehended, where are they being apprehended, how do they fit into the department's enforcement priorities? how many meet i.c.e. how many are put on alternative detention or some form of supervision in which enforcement priority levels do these individuals fit into? we need to have more confidence that our detention resources are used for those who are threats to the community or are serious flight risks. and we need to know that our a it td programs, which are less expensive, work effectively, as a detention alternative. better information may not be the way to reach consensus on every question of border and immigration enforcement policy, but it would help us. it would elevate the discussion to one based on empirical evidence and agreed upon data. with regard to immigration
enforce the policy, there has been a significant debate about i.c.e.'s use of prosecutorial discretion. but the use of law enforcement discretion has a long and credible history. in fact, as you well know yourself, mr. secretary, from your own experience, every prosecuting office in the country exercises discretion. on which case is to pursue and to what extent. in fact, any prosecutor not exercising discretion is derelict in his or her duty to the taxpayers. so we should have a discussion about the priorities the department has established for immigration enforcement. but i hope we can all agree that it simply must prioritize. a convicted felon, by definition, has committed a more serious crime than a misdemeanor, or deferred action eligible individual. and therefore, poses a bigger risk to the public. we simply don't have the resources to do it all. now, on the specific budget proposal, there are some recycled proposals that i was hoping we wouldn't see again. i want to particularly register my concerns with the proposed cuts to fema grants and to the
coast guard's acquisition budget. both of those accounts represent important investments in the nation's future, homeland security capabilities that we can't shortchange. i'm also wary of the proposed transfer of the funding and responsibility for the emergency food and shelter program from fema to the department of housing and development. that idea has been proposed and rejected in the past, because the stakeholder community simply didn't support the change. mr. secretary, i look forward to your testimony. our discussion today. look forward to continuing to work with you this year in support of your department's important missions. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. rice. mr. secretary, your entire written statement will be entered into the record. you're now recognized for five minutes to summarize your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'm sorry. i should have asked my chairman if he had an opening statement. >> yes, sir. >> excuse me. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. on your first appearance before the committee.
in the past several years, ranking member loi, along with our counterparts across the capitol, have worked hand-in-hand to restore regular order to this committee. thoughtful oversight and austerity. the omnibus bill for fiscal '14, which we agreed upon in january, is truly emblematic of that commitment, making responsible choices to right size our federal government and target precious tax dollars where they are needed the most. that bill was a true product of coming together, reflecting our shared desire to roll up our sleeves, cast partisanship to the wayside and do the critical work expected of this storied committee. all of us are committed to
moving forward in a similar fashion in fiscal year 2015. with honest and fair negotiations. that is why i'm disappointed that we are here today to review a budget request that as chairman carter has pointed out, is overtly partisan and political at its core. the protection of our homeland is a responsibility of paramount importance. and i fear this budget request undermines that duty with the same budget gimmicks, unauthorized legislative proposal and cuts to front line security operations that we have sadly come to expect under this administration. mr. secretary, we have got to do better. once again, the department has proposed to significantly reduce coast guard and i.c.e. that supports the men and women who bravely defend our homeland on the front lines.
in particular, the budget would decrease custody operations by $202 million, and domestic investigations by $27.7 million. in addition to reducing the mandated detention level by over 10%. another strong signal that this administration is not interested in enforcing the immigration laws on the books in this country. this budget cuts over 500 military and civilian personnel at the coast guard. 500. when the attorney general is describing the uptick in heroin abuse in our country, he said it's an urgent public health crisis -- i'm using his words -- i simply don't see the wisdom in reducing one of our first and most important front lines of defense against heroin drug trafficking. once again, the department is
budgeted with imaginary money, relying on $1 billion in unauthorized increases to multiple cpb user fees and to ts a's aviation passenger fees to support critical security measures. once again, the department has proposed a new fema grant program that has not been formally submitted to or vetted by the relevant authorizing committees of the congress. once again, the department has failed to submit a number of plans and reports which are essential to help this committee do its work and do its work well. these are not merely suggestions or requests. they're required by law. i could go on, mr. secretary, and i may later. the bottom line is this. we've got to do better. your testimony today, i hope, will allay my concerns as we work together in protecting our
homeland. i thank the chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sorry about that. ms. lowing? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome, mr. secretary. i'd like to thank chairman rogers, judge carter, ranking member price, for their leadership. this subcommittee values our role in protecting our homeland, as well as the bipartisan working relationship we foster to meet that goal. mr. secretary, as you appear before the house appropriations committee for the first time, i welcome you. last year, there were acts of terror in boston, growing cyber attacks on america's businesses, and drug cartel violence along the u.s./mexican border. that has resulted in the murder of 60,000 people since 2006. and turned some border towns into a war zone. these challenges alone certainly make an extremely difficult job.
and yet you oversee 16 different agencies and offices, which is no small feat. i wish you luck, stand ready to work with you to provide our first responders, border patrol officers, special agents and every federal law enforcement officer with the resources to keep our country safe. the president's budget, yet again, proposes to consolidate fema state and local grants into a large pot without authorization from congress. and expressly against the wishes of this committee. such a consolidation could dilute crucial anti-terrorism funds from areas most at risk of attacks, and leave transit and port security in the nation's most densely populated areas without the ability to prevent
and respond to acts of terror. in addition, the department's assumption that the job is complete in new york city is premature, and a reduction in securing the city's funding could leave new york city without the radiological and nuclear detection capabilities it needs. with that said, i commend the president for his efforts to put americans back to work while making investments that will support our infrastructure. the opportunity, growth and security initiative, if implemented, would provide $400 million for prehazard mitigation assistance. with natural disasters becoming more frequent, severe and costly, these funds would be a worthy investment in our resiliency in infrastructure. lastly, every day the best and brightest come to america to
study and work. and then due to our broken immigration system, return home to compete against us in a global market. this makes no sense. businesses, security professionals and labor all agree that every day, without comprehensive immigration reform is a missed opportunity. i hope that the house will take up hr-15, nearly identical to the senate bill that passed with bipartisan support. and that when you come before us next year, we will discuss how the president's fy-'16 budget meets the implementation needs of this important legislation. thank you, mr. secretary. >> okay. sorry for the mix-up. you're now recognized, secretary johnson, for your statement. >> thank you.
[ inaudible ] there we go. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ranking member price. ranking member lowy, who i've known for some years. i want to begin by thanking the subcommittee. you have my prepared statement. for the record, i will read an abbreviated version of it. i would like to thank the subcommittee for the strong support you have provided to the department for the past 11 years. i look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming year to protect the homeland and the american people. i am pleased to appear before the subcommittee to present the president's fiscal year 2015 budget request for the department. the 2015 budget request builds on our accomplishments over the past 11 years, while providing essential support to national and economic security. the basic missions of dhs are
and should be preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing our borders, enforcing and administering our immigration laws, safeguarding and securing cyberspace and strengthening national preparedness and resilience. the president's fy-'15 budget request provides the resources necessary, in our judgment, to maintain and strengthen our efforts in each of these critical mission areas. in all, the fy-'15 budget request, $60.9 billion in total budget authority, $49in net discreretionary funding. of particular note, the president's budget request funds production of the national security cutter eight as part of the recapitalization of the coast guard and requests $300 million to complete the funding necessary to construct the national bio and ago row defense
facility, state-of-the-art facility central to the protection of the nation's food supply and security. the fy-'15 budget will provide $10.2 billion to support disaster resiliency, primarily through the grants program administered by fema and the disaster relief fund. i'd like to also mention something about vacancies. there has been a lot of discussion of vacancies within the senior levels of the department. i'm pleased that the senate last week acted on the confirmations of suzanne spalding, gill kerr could you ski to lead cbp and john roth to be our new inspector general. we have three more that are awaiting senate confirmation now, and i would like to report that with respect to the other senior leaders, i have in mind at least one individual that we are recruiting at every one of these levels. this is an active part of my responsibility as secretary to fill these leadership positions. i spend virtually some part of every day working on this
important mandate. as secretary, i am also mindful of the environment in which we pursue each of our important missions. the days are over when those of us in national and homeland security can expect more and more to be added each year to our top line budgets. i therefore believe, as i know many members of this committee believe, i am obligated to identify and eliminate inefficiencies, waste and unnecessary duplication of resources across dhs's large and decentralized bureaucracy, while pursuing important missions, such as the recapitalization of the aging coast guard fleet. we reached a major milestone last year when the department achieved its first unqualified or clean audit opinion on its financial reporting. these are important steps in maturing the department's management and oversight functions. but there is more to do. as part of the agenda, we are tackling our budget structure and process. dhs currently has 76 appropriations over 120
projects, programs or activities. and there are significant structural inconsistencies across components, making mission-based budget planning and budget execution analysis difficult. we are making changes, as i have discussed with members of the committee, to our budget process to better focus our efforts on a mission and cross component view. i along with the deputy secretary am personally engaged to provide the necessary leadership and direction to this process. as part of a management reform agenda, i am also doing a top to bottom review of our acquisition governance process from how we develop our strategies to the development of our requirements to how we sustain our platforms, equipment and people and everything in between. part of this will include the thoughtful but necessary consolidation of functions to provide the department with the proper oversight, management and responsibilities to carry out this task. this will allow dhs to more fully ensure the solutions we
pursue are responsive to our strategy, it technological -- technologically mature and cost-effective. i look forward to sharing our ideas and strategies with this subcommittee as we move forward in this area. the last thing i'd like to comment on is -- a comment was made that i'm new. last -- week before last at -- in my testimony before the house homeland committee, a member remarked, "we know you inherited this, but when youin herrit something, you own it." so i accept responsibility for the department and its budget submission. someone has got to be responsible, and that's me. thank you very much, mr. chairman. i look forward to your questions. >> well, thank you. and i appreciate that comment. you know, in the past four
months, cvp has apprehended 66,928 illegal entrants into the rio grand valley sector of our border. rio grand valley is in texas. we call it "the valley." policies, procedures and adjudication backlog resulted in many of these illegal immigrants staying in the united states for an indeterminant period of time, which is leading to a de facto catch and release policy. mr. secretary, in a yes or no answer, first, has the administration regressed to the flawed cap -- catch and release policy of our past history? what do you think? do you know if the effects of this has established a catch and release policy for our administration? >> i do not believe so, and i would be opposed to such a
policy. i know from my experience at the department of defense that an armed force of, a law enforcement force, has serious objections to a catch and release policy. we ask these people to put their own lives on the line, and if you do that, you should not catch, capture or arrest someone only to be released moments later. so i do not believe in such a policy. and i don't believe we have such a policy. >> well, let's just look at some things. we have a combination of government directives, deferred action, rule interpretation and a proposed budget -- when proposed budget cuts leading to a de facto cut and release policy. aren't all these regarding illegal activity such a thing by granting the recent border entrants with temporary status, even if it's a type of legal limbo, aren't -- and aren't the white house decisions, including the latest proposal to slash i.c.e. enforcement resources,
creating irrational posture for illegal entry that is leading to humanitarian dilemmas and law enforcement nightmares. sir, i'm from texas. and as you know that, we have talked. so illegal border crossings are a big deal to me. to my neighbors. and, you know, we all know what's going on in the rio grand valley. your group called that the rgv. we call it "the valley." and though we worry about the flow of illegal aliens streaming into our neighborhoods and communities, we worry more about transnational criminal network that supports these illegal crossings. the word on the border is, at least across from texas, is today no one crosses that river without the cartel being involved. sir, these statistics from cvp about apprehension and the rio grand valley for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014,
between october and january. october, december -- four months. as i said, 66,828 people were apprehended. a total of 49,815 were new, were other than mexicans. and 18,555 were juvenile apprehensions. when these folks are apprehended, they met i.c.e.'s mandatory detention criteria, because they were recent illegal entrants. but needless to say, they weren't all placed in detention beds. so what happened to them once they were processed by cbp and turned over to i.c.e.? of the 66,928, how many were removed from detention, placed in alternative detention, claimed credible, or waiting immigration hearings? how many other mexicans waiting to be deported? we can't just ship them back to
mexico. of the 18,555 children, how many were delivered to family members living legally or illegally in the united states, and how many children continue to wait in shelters if they couldn't be reunited to family members? there's no doubt, mr. secretary, in my opinion, at least, there's no doubt the current policies are causing systematic failures to the united states immigration enforcement process. creating, i would argue, an invitational posture that is leading to a humanitarian crisis. it's a really sad story to hear, and we hear it on the border all of the time. of a small child dropped across the bridge in brownsville, with a plan that is instigated by the cartel, there is nothing to worry about that small child. it will be delivered by i.c.e.
to agents flying into a company -- to a family in virginia. now, this whole policy has created a disaster at our border. aren't what our policies we're establishing. would you consider this might be creating incentives to bad behavior? and what's your solution? >> a couple of comments. first, i've been to the valley. i spent time there. i've done the rio grand, and i've talked to our border patrol agents on the front lines about the challenges they face and what they need, the resources they need. because i know from personal experience very often you learn more from talking to the people on the front lines than you do your subordinates in washington. in fact when i went to the valley, i told my subordinates in washington to stay home. i wanted to talk directly to the
guys on front line. i agree that we've got some real challenges in south texas. i think south texas, particularly, of late, is presenting some real challenges, and we've got some work to do there. one of the things that i was struck by when i visited the detention center on january 20th, there were 995 detainees there, only 18% of whom were mexican. there were something like 30 nationalities represented in that one detention center. and it's very clear why. smuggling organizations are bringing these individuals through mexico, into the united states as part of a plan. so one of my concerns, one of my challenges, is i think we have to be very aggressive when it comes to going after the organizations. some of whom are beholden to the cartels. many of whom are beholden to the cartels. almost no one crosses the south
texas border who is not being smuggled. there is no freelancing. it's all part of an organized process put in place. i am also sensitive to aspects of our system that may create magnets for illegal immigration. i am sensitive to that. and when i was on the front lines, i talked to our border patrol folks about some of the stresses that they face on the front lines as a result of the system we have in place. in my judgment, this is one of the reasons why we need comprehensive immigration reform. both for the added border security that it would provide and, frankly, for -- and i know some people disagree with this. but i think i'm right on this. as a matter of homeland security, an earned path to citizenship for the 11 million who were here, he want them to come out of the shadows so we know who they are, as a matter of homeland security. but chairman, i am sensitive to
the challenges the people on the front lines face. i think in south texas and the valley, we've got some work there to do, in particular. the last thing i would say is, there's a difference between catch and release and apprehension, arrest and, you know this yourself from your time in the judiciary, and someone being released on parole, on bond, because someone has determined that they're not a flight risk. and that does indeed happen in our immigration system. and we have asked for $94 million for an alternative to detention program that we think is a pretty good one, consistent with public safety. >> well, you sort of confirmed in some ways what i just said about an invitational posture, and i thank you for your
comments. and we -- when we had catch and release, i interviewed bondsmen. and the policy that they had was, they would make the bond, but they were before the judge getting off the bond in a month, because they knew the no-shows were going to be 90%. and they were playing -- they were gaming the system. this is way back in '04 when we had catch and release was a policy of the united states. but i need to go on to mr. price. so i'll get my time again. mr. price? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, as you know, on this subcommittee we've worked very hard to be full partners with our first responders. and with our state and local governments. to fully fund fema's first responder program. i'm disappointed that this budget does propose a reduction in these programs, although i note that the administration has also proposed the opportunity of growth and security initiative.
that includes additional funding or would include did additional funding for state and local grant, fully paid for. but it would be beyond the top line funding level in the budget agreement. now, in addition to the departments again proposal to establish a national preparedness grant program, which would take the place of the currently funded preparedness programs. that would include the state homeland security grand program, the urban area security initiative, the port security program and the transportation security grant program. in other words, the rail program. now, the administration, unlike the last two years, has proposed authorization language for this new mpgp. but the proposal is basically the same as we have seen in recent years. so i'm wondering if you could elaborate for us the rationale for this proposal. and some of the practical effects. i'm especially interested in the
practical effects. would the major urban areas, for example -- are they justified in their concern that they could lose access to significant amounts of funding under this restructuring? what would the cities gain or lose you said the proposed structure? would those cities need to rely solely on their state governments or more on their state governments to receive funding under the proposed structure? secondly, could you describe for me how changes have been made? what kind of changes you've made in response to some of the criticisms leveled by stakeholders to the proposal from prior years? thirdly, were the consolidated program to be authorized and funded, do you expect that we would see a is significantly different balance of investments than we have seen under the currently funded preparedness grant programs? you see what i'm getting at. the -- these are programs that are important to us. they're important to you.
i know. we want to fund them as generously as we possibly can. and we want to do this in a way that is effective and is as efficient as possible. this proposal keeps coming back, though. and we have resisted it, as you know very well. we have resisted it. we have reason to believe that the current grant structure is well-defined and has delivered important assistance. if you have a different idea or if you believe that the bottom line in terms of what's delivered and how it's utilized would be different and would be better under this kind of consolidation, then i think now is the time to let us know that rationale. because as i said, this promo -- this isn't the first time we have seen it. so if you're persisting in this, we obviously need to know the reason why.
>> first of all, i was pleased that in the 14 budget agreement, there was more money set aside for state level and uwasi grants. i believe that assistance grant-making to state and local governments from my counterterrorism point of view is particularly important, as the terrorist threat becomes more diffuse, decentralized and in many instances, localized with the self radicalized individuals we see domestically. so i think support for state and local governments is particularly important, and i was pleased that in the '14 budget, we have more money to work with, and we intend to do so. i'm aware of the opposition of the consolidation of the grants program. i know that this debate has been going on, and i've asked the very same questions you have just asked me. my understanding is that with the consolidation of the grants programs at the state level, there would be increased
efficiencies in terms of federal oversight of how the grant money is spent, and increased efficiency on the state/local side in terms of oversight for how this money -- how the grant money is distributed. i know that our fema leadership and fema administers these grants, is a big believer in consolidating the grants program, and i have a tremendous amount of respect for craig fugate in this regard. and he believes that we need to do this. he administers this program, and i have to -- i'm inclined to defer to his judgment on this. i understand the concerns, but, you know, any time you are engaged in grant-making, if there is a way to reduce the overhead so that the grant money is maximized in terms of getting to its maximum impact, that's a good thing. so that's why we -- that's why we come back at this.
i'm pleased that this year we offered authorization language to accompany it. but that's my best understanding of the reason for the proposal. >> just one detail question about the authorization language. you propose authorization to build and sustain core capabilities identified to the national preparedness goal. now, i know you're maintaining the fire grants and the safer grants, personnel grants, as discrete programs. does this definition, though, include firefighting as one of those core capabilities? it is included now, as i understand. is that proposed to be changed? >> i have to take that question for the record. i can get back to you in writing, sir. >> all right. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. secretary, the country
has an opioid problem. that's putting it mildly. until fairly recently, the abuse of prescription drug medicine was killing more people than car wrecks. opioid, oxycontin and the like. we have made a real dent in that through a concerteded action on the state, federal, local levels. and making some progress. that was what the center for disease control called a national epidemic. and i've been to too many emergency rooms in my district looking at young kids with parents grieving over the body of their son or daughter. 18, 19 years old. we have made some progress on prescription drug abuse. but now they're switching to using heroin.
an opioid, obviously. and the rise in heroin abuse now is what the attorney general yesterday called, quote, an urgent public health crisis, end quote. we all know that heroin is not made here. in the that heroin is not made here in the u.s. it has to be imported. it has to be brought in. either across our borders or seashores. and yet to combat this urgent public health crisis in your budget you proposed kutding the coast guard drastically the one agency that can protect our shorelines against this invasion
of a health crisis that we're ongoing. you cut over 800 military positions. over 600 selective reserves. you again gut the fast response cutter by funding only two even though the program is on cost and on schedule, desperately needed and your budget decimates operational flying hours by proposing to retire aircraft and cutting flying hours for the hc 144 aircraft by 16%. i could go on. on your cuts to the coast guard vital to our seashore defense, particularly on drugs, we could talk about the land crossings the same way.
the reduction in personnel and cuts to the land based law enforcement ice investigations, you are proposing to reduce the number of average sustained detention beds, for example, from 34,000 to 30,000. further more, ice's homeland security investigations program decreased nearly $30 million i could go on. is the attorney general wrong when he said yesterday this is an urgent national crisis? or do you maintain that the coast guard is not an important factor in that -- in fighting that curse? >> i wholeheartedly agree with the attorney general with regard to his comment. the short answer to your
question is that this budget submission reflects hard choices given our fiscally constrained environment in which we are operating pursuant to the bipartisan budget act and the top line limit that we face. with regard to the coast guard, i am personally committed to continuing with our recapitalization effort. my understanding is that the coast guard has the oldest fleet of vessels of any navy in the world. we need to continue our recapitalization effort. i am pleased that we have asked for $562 million to fund the national security cut number eight which is the last one in that production line. i am pleased that we are continuing progress towards the selection of a contractor for the off shore patrol cutter, which is the medium sized cutter
in the fleet and i am pleased that we have forward progress with regard to the smaller cutter. we asked for appropriations for two versus four or six because we had to make some hard choices. my observation is that they do a marvelous job in terms of narcotics intradiction. i think they are doing a terrific job and we need to encourage them to continue to do so. without a doubt this reflects some very hard choices. >> you have got to make choices. so do we. that's what we're in business for. you and us on budgets. hard choices. and while you're cutting, the
coast guard and other agencies that fight illegal drug trafficking, you're increasing management, administration. immigration and customs enforcement. almost 14% increase in administration. bureaucrats in washington. you cut domestic investigations by almost $30 million. and so on. so the hard choices, plus you propose to increase the amount of money to complete the dhs headquarters buildings. hard choices. to me that's not a hard choice. that's an easy choice for me to
make. i disagree with you on the hard choices, so called hard choices that you say you have made. that would put the coast guard at a five year low at cocaine introduction. and we all know that cocaine is flooding into our country. so mr. secretary, this is not good news for the home folks. before i relinquish my time here, let me ask about the federal air marshalls program. i know we can't talk about it in open court here too much.
just an analysis with where we are with the fam and whether or not we need them. >> mr. chairman, i'm happy to provide that report to you with suitable safeguards that i know we can trust you and your staff with the appropriate safeguards. i'm happy to provide that to you. >> anything that spends money we want to know about. >> i'm sorry? >> any program that spends money we want to know about, entitled to know about and demand to know about. i want a good analysis of it pretty quick, before we mark this bill up. >> i'm not disagreeing with you.
>> the statement accompanying the fiscal year included language directing the department to focus the urban area security initiatives on urban areas that are subject to the greatest terrorism as you know the purpose of this language rather than spread this money around from region to region and state to state, rather than put it to good use where it matters most. how does the department plan to implement this language for the fy 14 ufc allocation and when can we expect the allocations under the more focused standard?
>> i made an initial review last week and i believe we're on track to get that information out. i agree with the statement about how the grant money should be prioritize to the communities most at risk as someone who i appreciate the challenges that we in the new york area that and in other communities, so we expect to have that information for fy 14 out very soon. i have heard from enough members of congress. i think it's incumbent upon me to make sure that we're
allocating this in the proper way and that we occasionally re-evaluate it this city has been invaluable with raidlogical and nuclear detection capabilities to identify, respond to, and altogether prevent a raidlogical or nuclear attack on cities. could you discuss with me what accounts for the reduction? has the department coordinated with new york city's new chief of police to ensure that the proposed reduction to securing the city's program would not
harm the capabilities? >> i have a pretty good working relationship with the nypd and its leadership. i knew commissioner before i took this job it's my open and expectation that we can leverage this through other means and grant programs, again, it reflects our choices. >> i hope that we will be able to discuss this with the new
commissioner. i would like to discuss some matter of importance raegarding tsa. female tsos are finding it more difficult to be promoted rather than gaining experience at other stations. >> 33% of tsos are responsible for over 50% of all the pat downs. having female tsos conduct pat downs of female passengers is certainly a well intentioned policy but i have heard continuing problems.
they tell me they are not rotating positions per tsa policy because of insufficient number of tsos on duty at passenger check points. the result is the tsos are not getting the experience at other stations to be considered for promotion and being denied shifts because they are disproportionately being kept at the check points. could you discuss with us what steps should tsa take to ensure that female tsos have equal access to training, shift bids, promotions as their male counter parts and the tragic shooting at lo los angeles international airport last year so if you can
tell us what steps is tso taking to improve. >> i have not heard that before. but i am not surprised. if we want tsos who are women to conduct pat downs of women passengers who are probably about 50% and if you add kids, that's more than 50%. i wouldn't want to see male officers doing that with regard to women. that need, therefore, there is a certain logic to your question requires that they be on the
front lines of aviation security. i wouldn't want to see them deprived. i will look into that. that is an interesting comment which i had not heard from the women in the force who i have chatted with at lax and dulles and elsewhere. that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. i was there. i spoke with the officers, i asked them about their security. i don't think that the answer is to create a security perimeter around a public airport. i think that would create all kinds of backlogs. there is a review that is out that i'm due to get soon on promoting security for our officers and that's a top priori priority. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. a point i want to quickly follow up on. remember over the years,
identified a real problem with the ability of employees at airports to get access to identification documents and i hope you will continue to work on that. i noticed that in your background -- i'm trained as an attorney as well. i did civil defense work in houston defending businesses, individuals who got sued, and more. >> my last trial was in houston. >> was it really? >> yes. i won't tell you the result. >> well, you were the general council, i see, at the department of defense. >> yes. >> just as a point of curiosity, do you think that the individuals picked up by soldiers are entitled to constitutional protection? equal protection? protection guaranteed? >> that is is a very interesting question that we wrestled with extensively. i will give you the current state of the case law. >> your opinion. >> my opinion? well, as a lawyer and legal
advisor, my opinion is whatever the supreme court tells me to think. so the current state of the case law is that with regard to the right to habius, they have that. there has been no determination by the courts that detainees enjoy the full constitutional rights. the courts have tended to say we're not there yet. so that's the current state of the case law, it could go in that direction dparding on the particular issue. >> i agree with the comment made earlier which is i'm not in the business as enforcing the law as i wish it existed i do the best as i believe it currently exists. >> when the law says shall, shall means shall.
>> generally, that is true, yes, sir. >> since 2002 this committee has had in statute, a provision that chairman carter with strong support of chairman rodgers and the final bill that the president just signed provides this is in hr-3547, that funding made available under this bill shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds. and you're quite correct. adds the secretary so therefore if you could, what possible justification is there for the department of homeland security to refuse to obey that law and why would you request to cut the detention beds by 10%? first of all, what is your legal
justification for ignoring that law and not come plying with that shall? >> i dealt with similar provisions when i was the lawyer for the department of defense and the department of the air force when i was general council there. i believe that in the executive branch, we have a legal obligation to make a budget submission to congress. we owe the congress our best effort at what we think the budget priorities should be. >> recommendation. >> as a recommendation. and it is your prerogative to agree or disagree with it. i'm sure that the congress will do so in this instance as well. we believe we owe you our candor and our best effort at what we believe is the appropriate level for detention beds given our current demands. that's what you have from the administration. >> right. but you're not filling all of those beds today.
that's my concern. >> we're not filling all of those beds today. today, i believe, we are somewhere -- somewhere just shy of that. >> the law is mandatory? i agree. >> the clause reads as it reads. we have given you our best submission based on our honest assessment of what we think we need. >> sure. i can detect from the committee all of us on this committee are committed to enforcing the law as it is written. one of my nearest and dearest friends. there is in one more committed to enforce the law than henry's constituents. they deal with it every day.
they want safe streets and good school and a strong economy. and a beautiful city. you can't go there any more. it's like a ghost town. it's critical that you enforce the law as it is written. it is not as you said, what you would like the law to be. you're following the law as given to you by the united states congress. this is not optional or discretionary. there is no prosecution on the part of a police officer or your detention folks as to whether or not you will fill $34,000. you shall fill 34,000 beds. would you, if you could, please take that message back to the agency and i know that the chairman and all the sub committee members will be keenly interested in helping you obey if law as it is written. thank you, sir.
>> to comment on the bed mandate. as the law is written, and is being interpreted by my colleagues and saying that you must fill 34,000 beds, what that does, if i am correct, takes away the discretion of professional ice personnel who may determine that someone who is arrested could be an elderly person, whoever that happens to be allow them to put them in an alternative means of detention because of health or other reasons if those 34,000 beds
were not filled. so you would be in a position of having to fill those beds every night whether or not you believed a certain number of the people that were arrested could be put into an alternative situation. is -- is that how -- i mean the law is being interpreted by my colleagues? that the 34,000 beds have to be filled regardless of the merits or the need, the conditions of that person and that the discretion is taken away from ice professionals if that 34,000 number of beds is not filled? i'm just trying to understand the logic and how this law applies here. it is very, very costly to have people in detention. it's something where $125 a
night as opposed to i forget what the figure is, something like 30 cents per day to put them in alternative measures. so could you explain to me? >> well, i don't have the statute in front of me. i have no doubt it has the word shall in it. and i don't know that the interpretation here -- and feel free to disagree with me, is that we must maintain 34,000 detainees at any one time. it is that we must maintain the capability for 34,000 detainees but congressman you will correct me if i'm wrong. okay. the other comment -- >> the capability is one thing. but if it's that you must fill them, that means that there is no discretion, those beds have
to be filled every night regardless of who it is that you are arresting. that is what i'm asking for clarification. >> the language says funding shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through september 30, 2014. so, reading that, i would interpret that to mean that we have to maintain 34,000 detention beds. some of those beds might be empty at any given time but we have to maintain 34,000 detention beds. we believe that is not the best and highest use of our resources given our current estimates of who we need to detain, who we regard as public safety, border security, threats. our best estimate is that the number is something south of
34,000, particularly when we have what we think is is a pretty good alternative to detention program that we have also asked for funding for. so we have asked for something to detain who we believe needs detained. >> your interpretation is different than previous interpretations that those beds do not have to be filled, they have to be available and the discretion as to whether or not to detain someone or put them into an alternative situation remains at the discretion of the ice professional? >> i'm reading the statute. >> the reason i'm asking is because i think there is a disagreement. >> correct me if i'm wrong in my interpretation of the statute. >> do i have time for a question? >> did you --
>> do i have time for another question? >> chairman, may i make a comment, please? >> yes, you may. >> when i was general council of the air force, we used to get language every year that said you shall budget for 94 b-52s. it was not you shall have 94 b- 52s. and the chief of staff would have this conversation with me that said do i need to submit a budget for 76? i would tell him that he owed congress the candor to say i only need 76 but each year we would get 94. it's our estimate but your
prerogative to disagree. >> i think the gentle lady has additional 30 seconds. would you yield? >> i agree that you have to have available 34,000 beds under this law. and we give a dollar amount in there for how much we will pay to maintain those things. i think that is a call of the detention folks. the current concern that i have is for my experience of having one of the bad jobs i had was keeping our jail overflow from killing us. when you run out of space, the space you have to hire to meet a crisis is about five times or more expensive than the space
you maintain. i think the numbers track that we have been closer to 34,000 than any other number most all the year. it's not because we're filling beds it's because the need is actually there. we will find out as we investigate this. >> i was late. if i may yield to those who were here earlier if that's all right with you? >> that's fine. >> thank you mr. chairman. as you know the screening partnership program as allows airports to apply for private screeners rathder than the fed
rat scre ral screeners. 14 airports actively participate in the program. again this year the tsa budget proposes to cut budget for the screening partnership program. what level of oversight is dhs conducting to be sure that it is accurate. >> the level of oversight -- i'm sorry. should i go now? >> go ahead. >> the level of oversight with regard to programs like that one is in transition. we are conductk a top down efficiencies review creating a new budget process and the like that i hope will lead to greater
efficiencies and weeding out inefficiencies. >> the amount of time it takes tsa to award a contract and to transition that airport once an application has been approved. >> the same program. >> third point, it's federal cost estimate rather than the actual wages being paid. . rather than their current wages. i gree that in this environment, cost efficiencies are absolutely critical.
>> that's a good question. i would like to take that one for the record if i may. >> i want to quickly move to the personnel. >> given that they are individuals, for dhs programs similar to the personnel charity program, why should people have to go through that same process? >> i believe that we are looking for ways to consolidate programs, i believe we are looking for ways to consolidate our program. consideration was being given to the use of the card by individuals. is this still on the table? many people have come to me.
>> yes, it is. >> i believe twik is an important program. my understanding is that we are on track. to be in a position to mail two people their twik cards and get to the one stop system where you only have to go once to one card. >> happy to work with you on that. i would note that i personally have to go to the dmv to get a new license plate. >> i have a question that i will submit for the record. thank you and i will yield back. >> thank you so much. good seeing you again.
i want to focus on performance. we added some language that applies all agency heads that says as you prepare your funding request in consultation with the gao you should directly link your performance. and in there. everything as defined. one of the things that i would ask you to do is when we were looking at the performance.gov and there is is a hand out,